Eternal lover of our wayward race, we pr

Eternal lover of our wayward race, we praise you for your ever-open door. You open your arms to accept us even before we turn to meet your welcome; you invite us to forgiveness even before our hearts are softened to repentance. Hold before us the image of our humanity made new, that we may live in Jesus Christ, the model and the pioneer of your creation. Amen.

Thought on Today’s Text I grew up on a

Thought on Today’s Text

I grew up on a small farm and remember the chores and farm animals. While we never had a mule, I dealt with stubborn cows, mean pigs and devious roosters. Most of all I wrestled with 2 brothers who like me didn’t want to do my chores.

So, even though I’m no expert, I get it when the psalmist says, “Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding….” (v.9) I’ve seen those animals pitch a fit and plant their hooves — “stubborn as a mule” is a saying for a reason!

How revealing that this image describes our attitude before the Lord at times. When are those moments that we plant our feet, raise our tempers, and “pout to the Lord” about this detail or that circumstance?

The gentle and patient father in the gospel lesson basically says to his elder son, “Now don’t get all mulish on me, son; wait and see what it is that I’m up to before you judge me.” How like our Heavenly Father, who forgives our sin and surrounds us with steadfast love.

Psalm 32 Overview The psalmist tells us

Psalm 32 Overview

The psalmist tells us what he has learned in life: happiness is having one’s sin forgiven and taken away (“covered”) by God, and enjoying a clear conscience (v. 2). In vv. 3-5, he states his experiences: he was seriously ill (“your hand was heavy upon me”) and was in pain (“groaning”), both signs of his alienation from God. (Illness was commonly regarded as punishment for sin.) He acknowledged his sin and did not continue his waywardness (“I did not hide …”, v. 5); he confessed to God, and God forgave him. Now v. 6: those who are faithful to God are not in danger of dying when gravely ill (“distress”, v. 6). (The “waters” are a symbol of death.) He is now protected by God (v. 7). Perhaps God speaks in vv. 8-9: he will lead the psalmist in his ways, through instruction and counsel. Don’t be like “a horse or a mule” (v. 9) who must be coerced into action: use your initiative in being open to God. V. 11 is spoken to the congregation in the Temple: rejoice in the Lord!

Psalm 32 32:1 Happy are those whose tran

Psalm 32

32:1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

32:2 Happy are those to whom the LORD imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

32:3 While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.

32:4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

32:6 Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.

32:7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah

32:8 I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

32:9 Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.

32:10 Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD.

32:11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

Prayer for Today O Lord give me wisdom,

Prayer for Today
O Lord give me wisdom, knowledge and understanding. For You store up sound wisdom for the upright. You are a shield to those who walk uprightly, You guard the paths of justice, and preserve the way of Your saints. Then I will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

ISRAEL PILGRIMMAGE I do this every few y


I do this every few years. I limit the number to around 20 people. Have done larger but found this size is best for sites and relationships. I have reserved November 6-16 for the pilgrimmage. The cost is $2569.00 with 4-5 star accommadations. I do require my people to purchase travel insurance. The fly in the ointment is fuel surcharge which we will not know till we are closer.

We do the footsteps of Jesus only except for Masada which all should see. If you have an interest or know someone who does, let me know and I will include you in our organizational meeting next month. I also ask our people to meet monthly the 3 months prior to build our fellowship.

I can forward itenerary and single room costs as well. Just let me know. If you haven’t been to the Holy Land, prayerfully consider it. All who have gone know that it changes you, the way you read your Bible and your appreciation of Christ.

Feel free to forward the information. Thank you. Michael

Devotional Thoughts on Our Text This pas

Devotional Thoughts on Our Text

This passage describes the first taste of the fulfillment of a promise long held. It will be a difficult passage to preach. It is a part of a narrative and its meaning depends upon its role in the narrative. But we cannot count on our people knowing the narrative. Starting with the first of chapter 5 will help — but not much, and we cannot count on our people knowing the significance of the narrative.

The theme that runs throughout the Hebrew scriptures is a story of God working to establish a unique relationship with one chosen people, and through them with the whole human race. This relationship is a covenant in which God promises to be faithful to humankind, to love, to provide, to guide, and to save. In response, the people are expected to relate to God in trust and in loving obedience.

The Bible tells us that God first established a covenant with all humanity through Noah (Genesis 9:1-17), then with the family that would become the people of Israel through Abram (Genesis 12:1-3). In this last covenant, God promised to make Abram’s descendants into a great nation and to give them a land of their own.

The people of Israel really had to grow into that special covenant relationship in that event in their history that was called the Exodus. The Exodus was the historical event in which God came to a family that had become refugees in Egypt during a famine and then grew to a whole race of people but were reduced to slavery. God reminded them that God had a special purpose in mind for them. God sent a leader named Moses who told them that God had promised their ancestors that they would become a great nation and possess a good land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and that they would be God’s unique servant in the world: God’s chosen people. But in order to claim that heritage, they would have to follow Moses out of the security of slavery into a frightening adventure that would take them out beyond any of the things on which they were accustomed to depending and force them to depend upon God alone for sustenance and guidance. The people accepted the challenge, though not without misgivings. They had all of the men circumcised as an act of obedience to God. They celebrated the first Passover as an act of putting trust in the promise of God. Then they set out on the journey.

It was not an easy journey. There were years of life under a burning sun and through cold desert nights. They were constantly struggling with the fear that they were on a foolish venture that would result in their deaths. At one time, when they were on the verge of entering the Promised Land, they lost courage and had to wander in the wilderness for more years until all of those who had lost courage died. During that time in the desert, God provided for their needs with a mysterious natural food called manna, a sort of emergency ration on which they lived until they came to the Promised Land.

Finally, the people came to the land that would be the fulfillment of the promise they had held on to so tenaciously for all of the lives of those who survived the ordeal. They were about to begin the conquest of the Promised Land. At that time the people renewed the rituals of their covenant relationship with God. Our text for today says that the people no longer depended on the manna that God provided. They finally began to eat the produce of the Promised Land.

Sometimes it is hard work to hold on to the promise of God and to be faithful to him until the promise is fulfilled. Is there any experience in your life, or the life of your community, your church, your nation, in which you have had to hold on to some promise for a long time, so long that you began to doubt that it would ever be fulfilled? What shape has the promise of God taken for you? What would it mean for you to finally taste the first fruits of the fulfillment of that promise?

In each of our hearts is a locked place,

In each of our hearts is a locked place, God;
Like a forgotten room or a dark cupboard,
We would prefer to forget it even exists,
But inside it are things that won’t stay hidden.

Others would never suspect that we carry such a place;
We guard our faces so no evidence appears,
And we keep our lips sealed,
allowing no escape for the stories of the skeletons in our cupboard.

But in the quiet moments, the unguarded times of solitude,
The doors we struggle to hold shut fly open
and the skeletons – these living guilts – come out and dance
Mocking us and reminding us of our secret shame.

Free us from the power and the prison
of the skeletons in our cupboards, Jesus;
Teach us that mistakes and brokenness and failure
are part of creative and bold living
Remind us that what is hidden holds us in bondage
and cannot be healed;

And lead us through our shame to confident joy in You.

Let us know the touch of your forgiveness and healing,
and teach us to pass this acceptance on to others
friends, family and strangers
who, like us, pretend to be whole
While within them, skeletons still dance.


%d bloggers like this: